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Phillips Defies Brexit Gloom as Records Tumble in Its $32 Million Contemporary Art Sale in London

October 3, 2019

 

Alex Katz, Blue Umbrella I (1972). Courtesy of Phillips.

 

While yesterday’s single-owner sale of predominantly British art at Christie’s felt fairly cozy, Phillips’s sale this evening was the first of the week to engage with more risky, international contemporary art—and it totaled a healthy £25.8 million ($31.8 million).

 

And whereas both Sotheby’s and Christie’s later this week have posted pre-sale estimates lower than last year, Phillips’s £17.1 to £24.5 million ($21 milion to $30.1 million) estimate was fractionally up, though the house did have seven more lots.

 

Phillips also had the highest level of pre-sale guarantees, which would have helped consignment levels. Over 60 percent of the value of its sale (or 20 out of the 43 lots) had been guaranteed, all by third parties so as to not expose the company to financial risk.